I witnessed a sacred moment the other day. It was not in a church building, a small group, or a youth camp. It was on bus number 1 in Fort Collins, Colorado. As my daughter and I talked quietly—catching up on the months that she has been attending Colorado State University—a tall, well-built, middle-aged black man reeking of cigarette smoke and wearing a ski cap stood up and humbled me.
A young Hispanic woman was having a difficult time trying to figure out at which stop she needed to get off the bus. Between her broken English and the driver's need to keep his eyes on the road, the two were not having a successful conversation. The man in the ski cap gently approached the woman and told her he would help her. When her stop arrived, he grabbed her large shopping bag and got off the bus with her. The bus driver reassured the woman, saying, "He is a nice man. He will help you."
My daughter and I watched as the man and the woman crossed the street—he carrying her bags and she laughing at something he had said. I will never know if that was his stop, but it was clear that his first priority was helping this woman find her way.
This month, encourage your small-group members to boldly get involved in the life of another person by sacrificing their personal agendas in order to help someone else find their way. Collectively agree on a person or family that is new to town and commit to the following plan:
- Put together a basket with a telephone book; local coupons for pizza, oil changes, haircuts, and so on; a candle and lighter; a welcome card; your small-group phone list; popcorn; and soft drinks. Give the basket to the newcomer(s) on your first visit to their home.
- Give the person or family a blank calendar page for the month, or other set period of time that your group is available to help. Ask them to write the days and times they are available on the calendar.
- Ask them to make a list of what they would like to know about your city or town (grocery stores, library, unique stores, veterinarians, hospitals, churches, public transportation, coffee shops, etc.).
- Using their list, set up a schedule between your small-group members and the new person or family to spend an hour or two on several different days exploring the city or town.
- Pray for the newcomer(s) each week.
- Send notes of encouragement once a week for several months (sharing the task among the group members).
- Invite the person or couple to your small group and church.
Copyright 2009 by the author and Christianity Today.